Well discussed on this site, modular homes are now being recognized as viable options for the serious crisis in tough housing markets. The San Fransico Bay Area of California is one of the biggest booming economies in the country at the moment, but they also suffer from possibly the biggest, most expensive housing crunch in the United States. According to the San Fransico Chronicle, “from 2011 to 2016, California added a net of just 209 new housing units for every 1,000 new residents.” This ratio has real-life consequences for the homeless population, as will be reported below. With this significant gap to navigate in homes built for the total number of residents in an area, legislators and lobbying groups have started to consider the fact that quicker and cheaper building methods of modular homes solve the housing crisis.
“The study concludes that the major losers from this failure have been California’s low-income workers. While the number of low-income jobs in California has increased significantly over the past several years, the wages offered for those jobs has not. The result is a smaller and smaller share of Californians who are able to afford a basic cost of living in the state.”
The above quote is from the Chronicle’s Editorial Board, and they are speaking of a study conducted by Next 10, “a business-oriented San Francisco public policy group.” This group found that housing developments and new homes built were too costly and slow to produce for the number of residents seeking new homes. It’s a dangerous closed loop that will not provide a solution to the problem if allowed to continue. Next 10 argues that “a big part of the solution has to be increasing housing production.” Stick-built housing developments are not moving fast enough for lack of government support, building efficiency, and the funding problems that are inherent in the traditional form of homebuilding. This makes any homes that are eventually produced far above any budget that the low-income families of the Bay Area are able to work with.
“All three counties, the study concludes, need more than 50,000 new affordable homes to meet the demand for housing that lower-income residents can afford.”
Failure to build housing at all income levels has led to housing prices that are unobtainable and damaging to most markets. The San Fransico Chronicle argues that “the answer is speeding up housing production in the private market, ensuring that the state does its part in supporting affordable housing development, and pushing local governments to meet their housing goals.” Instead of trying to force a slower system to speed up, perhaps the true solution here is to simply adopt a quicker system. Modular home builds are much faster than traditional home building. Having pre-set options and the ability to adapt to a site’s needs instead of changing a site to fit a foundation is less harmful to the environment and more feasible for solving this intense housing demand in the market.
A flood in the market of pre-fabricated homes that were targeted towards the needs, budget, and location of every level in the housing market might very well solve this issue. The beauty of a modular home is that it can be adjusted to whatever a customer’s best fit would be. Whether designing a new compound for a multi-millionaire or an apartment complex skyscraper that could house many of the increased levels of transitioning homeless and low-income families struggling to afford shelter in this economy, what gets built is completely unique and tailored to be the perfect solution. Modular homes solve housing crisis; that’s the truth laid bare.